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Article Title

Precinct

Abstract

"Precinct" was a site-specific art project/ performance/ exhibit put on by SITE: Buffalo Artist Collective, an organization devoted to a nontraditional approach to art emphasizing the experiential and the value of spectered memories contained in found objects and images. With the aid of the Buffalo Arts Commission, the abandoned police precinct (now destroyed) on Niagara Street on Buffalo's West side was open to the public, occupied and interacted with for a one-day event. This venue was specifically selected in order to bypass the gallerycentric mode of display which tends to dominate the world of art. By doing so, SITE made their work more accessible to a wider range of people than would typically attend an art event held at a commercial art space and thus emphasized the blur that occupies the space between "art" and lived life. The police were no longer using the building and it was an immobile block of concrete on a busy street, a corner convenience store next door. This paper explores the psychoanalytic basis for the artwork and the affective response to it vis-a.-vis Julia Kristeva's concept of abjection, Sigmund Freud's concept of the Uncanny (Unheimliche), and Jacques Lacan's notions of the three psychic registers: The Real, The Imaginary and The Symbolic. Through these ideas, an investigation into the meaning-making that occurred when a "real" site was conjoined with pre-made "art", and traversed by people whose responses carne to define the installation, is mounted in this essay that confronts what Art Education too often leaves out in favour of visual domination, namely affect and the experiential- the main idea being that the experience itself being what the art is, as opposed to a tangible object that results from the experience. I argue that there is a lack of focus on contemporary art and the related conceptual and philosophical issues in art teacher training, and that this is ultimately detrimental to the teaching of art k-12.

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